Thanksgiving giving

The philanthropy of local business owners, and the words of BEC’s Robyn DiFalco

Help Farshad Azad and his Basket Brigade provide Thanksgiving dinners for needy local families.

Help Farshad Azad and his Basket Brigade provide Thanksgiving dinners for needy local families.


It’s that time of year
Local nice-guy (and martial-arts grandmaster) Farshad Azad—who has been chosen multiple times by CN&R readers as Best Local Do-Gooder in our annual Readers’ Poll (including this year)—is continuing his good, community-minded work again this Thanksgiving season with his annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade.

Azad (pictured) and his students at Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center will be holding the 22nd annual Basket Brigade on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 5:30 p.m., aimed at helping 200 needy families have a Thanksgiving dinner. They are seeking tax-deductible donations to help provide the necessary food: “With only $40, folks can help provide a complete basket of Thanksgiving dinner for a family of eight,” said a press release from the martial-arts center.

Azad is also seeking suggestions for local families that are in need of food assistance this Thanksgiving (qualifications include being a first-time Basket Brigade recipient and having school-age children). Volunteers to help assemble the baskets at the event are also needed.

Mail checks (payable to Ident-A-Child, with “Basket Brigade” in the subject line) to Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center, 313 Walnut St., Ste. 150, Chico, CA 95928. Go to or call 896-0777 for more info.

More Thanksgiving philanthropy
Pyramid FarmsMatthew Martin is putting the word out that, once again, his organic-produce business is having its annual fundraiser for Heifer International, the nonprofit organization working to end world hunger by providing impoverished families with a sustainable food source in the form of livestock, instead of short-term food aid.

“This will be our sixth year raising awareness and donating 100 percent of our pre-Thanksgiving (Saturday, Nov. 23) farmers’ market sales,” wrote Martin in a press release. So, head on over to the downtown farmers’ market at Second and Wall streets this Saturday (7:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) and pick up some yummy, fresh cauliflower, broccoli, squash, etc., and help provide flocks of chickens, honeybee hives, goats, sheep and so on to needy families around the world.

DiFalco weighs in
In last week’s column, I devoted a considerable amount of space to the plight of the huge historic valley oak tree growing in the vacant lot at the corner of Salem and West Eighth streets. Thanks to the recent actions of the city’s Architectural Review & Historic Preservation Board, the grand, towering tree is slated to be axed to make way for a couple of duplexes. However, the Butte Environmental Council has (thankfully) filed an appeal, scheduled to be heard next month.

Robyn DiFalco, BEC’s executive director (who penned the appeal), sent me a few words by email recently, expressing her thoughts about the situation of this valley oak, as well as that of other heritage trees still standing in Chico.

“The mature street trees of Chico are one of the things I love most about this city—and I’m concerned that they’re vulnerable these days,” DiFalco said. “At present, the city has no urban forester or tree crew on staff, the Tree Committee isn’t meeting for lack of city staff, and consequently, the Urban Forest Management Plan is still just a draft.

“This is not just about one small project and a few trees—it’s partly a concern about the future of Chico’s urban forest.”